Multiple reports came out of Houston today in regards to the state of things around the Texans and they don't paint a pretty picture for coach Bill O'Brien.
Within an article about why the Texans didn't sign free agent safety Earl Thomas (essentially the Texans players didn't want him on the team following Thomas' recent tumultuous exit from the Ravens), CBS Sports writer Jason La Canfora wrote the following:
"Recent practices have been tense and marked by occasional heated verbal exchanges between coaches and players, and the situation is fairly do-or-die with regards to salvaging a season that began with them defending a division title as they host the Vikings today."
It was the last paragraph of the story, a throwaway piece of news, but it seems to highlight an underlying tension between the players and O'Brien. That will happen when you're 0-3 and struggling on offense as the Texans are this season. It feels even more amplified in Houston, though, following O'Brien's controversial decision to trade star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins this offseason and the Texans blowing a 24-0 lead against the Chiefs in the playoffs last season.
In an effort to salvage the season and jumpstart the offense, O'Brien is reportedly going to take a bigger role in play calling and is shaking up the Texans offensive strategy.
This could be a good or bad decision for O'Brien. He's more exposed to critiques if the Texans continue to struggle or, even worse, regress. He would seemingly be vindicated if they somehow turn things around. Either way, it likewise suggests O'Brien recognizes the situation is dire for him in Houston.
O'Brien has had a successful run as Texans head coach. In six years (not including this season), he's only had one losing season and accumulated a 52-44 record (he's 52-47 including this year). He's led the team to the playoffs four times, winning the division each of those years. However, the Texans have gone 2-4 in the playoffs and O'Brien's decision making in those games has been questioned. So have his decisions (like trading Hopkins) as the Texans GM.
Questioning whether O'Brien is on the hot seat in Houston is conjecture at this point. But it seems, based on these reports, like he's feeling some heat. We'll see if O'Brien can calm the choppy waters he and the team are currently stuck in. If he can't, he may be looking for a new job at the end of the season.